The 36-year-old has been pushing back the years for the past two seasons, after making his fifth consecutive PFA Team of the Year award two days ago.

But a calf strain ruled him out of the semi-final win against Adelaide United, so with three days remaining and the team now in Melbourne, every hour of rehabilitation is crucial.

“I feel alright,” Ninkovic said. “Yesterday I did some running and I have three more days until the game so hopefully I will be fine.”

Reflecting on his second Johnny Warren medal, and his first since 2017, Ninkovic said he hadn't expected it due to his injury.

“It’s an amazing achievement,” Ninkovic said.

“It’s the second time obviously I didn’t expect it to be honest because I was more focused on my injury and obviously the Grand Final,

“I had a goal before the season to win a Grand Final and that was my goal now, we have a chance to do that for the first time in history.”

Ninkovic now has the chance to secure his fourth A-League championship, to go with a Serbian Superliga title won in 2014, and two Ukrainian Premier League titles between 2007 and 2009.

Although he's never had a season quite like this one.

“It’s been crazy,” Ninkovic said.

“The most important thing for us is that we are here and we have three-four days to prepare and I think now we are going to have more time to prepare better than being at home.”

“It’s going to be really special. We are so close but we know that it’s not going to be easy because City are a good team and we know it’s going to be hard – but I still believe in our squad."


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